The influence of sleep disordered breathing in REM sleep behavior disorder

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16 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES/BACKGROUND: Because both REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) can present with similar symptoms, it is important to understand the influence of OSA in the clinical manifestations of RBD and whether RBD modulates OSA severity. Our objectives were to compare: 1. the intensity of non-motor symptoms between RBD patients with (RBD-OSA) and without OSA (RBD-non-OSA), and 2. polysomnographic features between RBD-OSA and OSA without RBD (OSA-non-RBD) patients.

METHODS: 32 RBD cases were divided in two groups according to the presence of moderate to severe OSA [Apnea Hypopnea Index (AIH) > 14] (RBD-OSA vs. RBD-non-OSA). Non-motor symptoms were assessed with Montreal Cognitive Assessment Scale, SCOPA-Sleep and the Non-Motor Symptom Scale (NMSS) for Parkinson's disease. RBD-OSA patients were compared to 20 OSA-non-RBD patients matched for age, AHI and gender.

RESULTS: Compared to RBD-non-OSA (n = 22) patients, RBD-OSA patients (n = 10) showed significantly higher scores in SCOPA-Sleep Daytime and NMSS Attention/Memory, Gastrointestinal and Urinary domains, as well as higher sleep fragmentation, more oxygen desaturation and higher AIH in NREM sleep. RBD-OSA patients presented with less O2 desaturation, snoring, and BMI when compared to OSA-non-RBD patients.

DISCUSSION: Our data suggests that OSA contributes to hypersomnolence, gastro-intestinal, memory, and urinary complaints in RBD patients. RBD patients seem to have a milder OSA phenotype (possible reflecting a protective role conferred by the maintenance of muscle tone during REM sleep) and to be less prone to obesity and snoring than non-RBD patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-215
Number of pages6
JournalSleep Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2017


  • Cognitive dysfunction
  • Gastro-intestinal symptoms
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • REM sleep behavior disorder
  • Sleepiness


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